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  • julienaylorcounsel

What if I'm the only one who. . . . . . . . . .

I have a visceral memory of being at primary school.  I was seven years old.  It was music class (my favourite) and the teacher was introducing us to the different sounds of a variety of instruments.  I loved music class.  It was a place I felt comfortable; comforted.  The teacher told us she was going to play a piece of music for us to listen to.  We had to fold our arms as soon as we heard a violin. She wanted to check that we could correctly identify different musical sounds.


I vividly remember being engrossed in the music, acutely listening for the sharp pull of the violin strings.  And then, there they were, loud and scratchy.  I folded my arms, triumphantly.  Looking up from the ‘other world’ I’d been in, I noticed I was the only one with my arms folded.  My eyes scanned the room, nervously.  ‘Argh! Noone else has their arms folded, it’s only me.’  I quickly untangled my arms, letting them hang down underneath my desk.


The teacher moved to the front of the room and stopped the cassette player (yes, I am that old!)  “Julie, tell me why you just unfolded your arms.”  I sank a little in my seat, embarrassed by the attention and the focus of the class on me.  “Errr, I thought I got it wrong - I was the only one.”  “Yes, you were.  The only one that heard that beautiful violin as soon as it appeared in the music.”  Taking me aside a little later, my teacher encouraged me to trust in myself a little more.  It doesn’t matter if you’re the only one, she said. You got it right – don’t ever hide your knowing, don’t be afraid.


The thing is, it did matter to me and I was afraid.  As relational beings, many of us humans don’t want to be the only one.  We want to ‘fit.’  We like to feel some sense of belonging to a group, some kind of commonality, that we are okay in the world, somehow.  And standing alone?  Being the only one?  Well, that isn’t it.


This “I think I might be the only one who……..” thing, can be felt in our inner worlds.  So many people wandering around feeling isolated, disconnected, ‘weird’, ‘wrong’ (the list is endless).  Such ideas about ourselves can prevent us from living our full humanity.  Like a dam in a river, who we really are just cannot get through.


Over the years, I’ve practiced becoming more and more connected with who I really am.  The ‘weird’, unique, annoying, beautiful (again, the list is endless) brilliance of my whole self.  It’s a ride, my friends.  One I’m forever grateful I get to be on.  One, I wish for every human that I come into contact with.

Oh, and that inner knowing my teacher spoke about all those years ago?  That’s the part of me I give most attention to these days, the thing I prize like the jewel it truly is.  Am I still afraid?  A little.  Sometimes a lot. 


Doesn’t stop me though. 



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